The Desert Biome: One Of The Most Interesting Biomes On Earth

1290 words - 6 pages

The desert biome is one of the most interesting biomes on earth. An area of land is considered a desert when it produces less than 10 inches of rainfall throughout the year. There are many different types of deserts in the world, with a very diverse group of plants and animals. It has temperatures that are generally hot during the day, and cold at night.
A desert is a region so arid due to little rainfall that it supports only sparse and widely spaced vegetation or no vegetation at all. There are many different types of deserts including Trade wind deserts, Midlatitude deserts, Rain shadow deserts, and many more. The largest trade wind desert is the Sahara desert that is located in North Africa. Dry winds use cloud cover to allow more sunlight to heat the land. The Sahara desert has reached temperatures of 122 degrees Fahrenheit. The Mid Latitude deserts have many interior drainage basins far from oceans and have a wide range of annual temperatures. These deserts are more common in North America.
Deserts cover about a fifth of the Earth’s surface. Also, deserts can be found on every continent. Deserts are a part of a wider classification of regions called drylands. They are found worldwide along two fingers parallel to the equator at 25-35 degrees latitude in the northern and southern hemispheres. Deserts are made up of bare soil and low vegetation. Deserts make up approximately one fifth of the Earth's land surface, which is about 20.9 million square miles ("Basic Facts about Deserts").
There are three reasons for the hot and dry climate in deserts. These are from Hadley cells, rain shadows, and ocean currents. First, Hadley cells are pockets of air named after the meteorologist from Britain who discovered it. In Hadley cells, moist air rises above the rain forests along the equator. This causes the air the become dryer and as it descends becomes warmer. In Rain shadows, Mountainous ranges push moist winds upward, causing them to be cooler and the moisture condenses as rain. The dry wind descends and the mountains become warmer and drier. This is another way deserts are formed. Lastly, deserts are formed from Ocean currents. Ocean currents often have little rainfall. This is another reason why deserts are very dry (Rice 176).
The Dominant plant in a desert biome is the Cacti. Cacti are the major succulents of North and South American deserts. In Africa, spurges and milkweeds are the dominant flora of African deserts. These plants look very similar to cacti. Desert shrubs are nearly found in every desert. The plants that survive in the desert have found many remarkable ways to live in this harsh environment. Desert succulents, such as the rock plants and cacti. These plants can survive dry spells by accumulating moisture in the tissues. Also, these plants have shallow roots that capture soil water only a couple of hours after it rains. Another way plants survive in the extreme conditions of the desert are from the drought survival...

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